Australian PM may consider early election

Autralian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull may call double dissolution election within weeks

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull delivers a speech at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, in Tokyo, Japan, December 18, 2015.

Updated Feb 3, 2016

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told government colleagues on Tuesday that an early general election within weeks is a "live option," an official said.

It came after the Australian senate created a legislative deadlock by rejecting a bill passed by the House of Representatives for the second time. The bill was aimed at the improvement of governance of organisations. 

The Prime Minister may use the threat of an early election to put pressure on the Senate to make them pass the legislation, Agence France Presse reported.

Turnbull can decide the timing of the next election by himself. He could call an election as early as March 12. After the early election, the rejected bill will go to a vote in a joint sitting of both chambers.

"He said a double dissolution was a live option, which would have to be weighed up," a minister said on condition of anonymity.  

In Australia early elections are rare in federal politics and unpopular with voters. The last double dissolution election was in 1987.

A spokesman for Turnbull declined to comment on speculation about when the election will be held.

The prime minister said that he plans for his government to run a full three-year term which would make the election due around September.

Turnbull told his colleagues "we can reasonably expect an election to be at the normal time, in the August-to-October period, but that is not set in stone," the minister told reporters.

An ordinary election in which the entire House of Representatives and half the Senate go to the polls can be held any time from Aug. 6 until Jan. 14 next year.

TRTWorld, AP